What is your definition of success?
Is it financial wealth, how many holidays you have, the home you live in, the clothes you wear, the social circle you travel in, is it measured by your business, your relationships? Is its measurement inherited from your family or taken on from your peers? Success means different things to different people and is the opposite to failure… or is it?
When I sat down to think this through, I have a process that involves trance and getting out of my left side brain to see what lies beneath the surface of my conscious thoughts…… my memory tracked back through my life to my 20s and 30s when I lived in the most magnificent house.
It was a house that we (I was married at the time) built, so from searching for the land, to designing the layout and exterior it had my ‘stamp’ on it. It had taken 2 years to get planning to build it. It was in an area of outstanding beauty and protected greenbelt but finally we got permission to build. It took another 2 years further on to complete it. And when it was finished I knew we had created something special in terms of family living and entertaining. All natural oak floors, oak doors, a round dining room, a kitchen that could cater for many, a conservatory that brought the garden into the house, 5 bedroom suites, a self contained annex for staff, a mirrored dance studio and every single convenience you could think of….that and windows from ceiling to floor to the let light in and a central roof atrium which meant moonlight as well as sunlight flooded in to the house.
At the time this was my complete definition of success. I’d seen a project through from conception to completion. It was more than I could have hoped for, its financial value was huge. We had increased the value of the property by 300% and had keep the costs of the build within the budget. My friends were envious, my family thought ‘I’d made it big” and everybody flocked in to be my friend. I basked in the feeling of success here. Loving the fact that I’d made a huge part of it happen.
This success was fleeting. You see I was measuring my success by the value of the house, by the aestheatics of it, by its grandeur, by the response I got from others when they looked at it. I was popular with the ‘in-crowd’ and we (my husband and I) were sought out by others as a ‘power’ couple. This success was exterior success, inside I was crying, inside I felt as if I was living in a prison, where I worked hard to build a life that I thought I wanted, but then faced with having to continue pretending to be something I couldn’t.
How could I succeed, when I was failing at being me.
Looking back I can see how this was part of my evolution, I had manifested everything I thought I should. A big house, a rich husband, enough money to holiday anywhere, to wear designer clothes and to mix with the ‘movers and shakers’ of the day in London. But to do that I’d had to sacrifice myself. When I say myself, I’m not sure who that was back there, so in the same way that I manifested a life that I thought I should, I also showed the World the me I thought it wanted.
I was always kind, to everyone, I was always generous to everyone, even when they were taking advantage (which was everyone) and I always felt like no one really liked me, and I had to try harder. My energy levels were so low back then that I’d suffer migraines about 3 times a week, my body was shouting at me that something was wrong with chronic disease and my spirit was small, depression plagued me as did anxiety and feeling that life was passing me by. LIFE WAS PASSING ME BY… what? When I had it all?
In having this life of success that had it all I had created what I thought everyone wanted and I felt very guilty in my unhappiness. Fact of the matter was, I had created a perfect prison.. I didn’t like myself.. You know that saying ‘if you can spot it you’ve got it”, well, suffice to say thinking that no one liked me was in fact what was going on inside….. SO…. looking back, this life was not success, it was massive failure. Failure to be me.
I’ll ask again, what’s your definition of success?
Nowadays mine is based on my level of happiness, health and self growth. Nothing like those years before. Nothing like measuring by financial gain. For me today, success is abundance. Abundance of life experience, abundance of love for myself and for others, and abundance of health and energy.
Today I can with my hand on my heart, stand up in my own personal power and say I am successful.
So, I’ll ask again, what’s your definition of success?